Best Online Master’s in Business Intelligence 2021
| TBS Staff
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A master's in business intelligence can develop your ability to quantify consumer trends, generate returns on investment, reduce and manage risk, and increase efficiency.
The growing field of business intelligence and analytics relies on professionals with business intelligence master's degrees for leadership roles. After earning master's degrees, professionals can pursue opportunities in high-paying jobs as management analysts, data scientists, and market research analysts. The degree also leads to careers as statisticians, analysts, researchers, and consultants. These career paths offer strong job growth projections and high earning potential.a
An online business intelligence degree prioritizes flexibility. The delivery format appeals to working professionals who must balance earning an education with their careers. By choosing an online program, business intelligence graduate students can continue working while pursuing career advancement.
Our list ranks the best online master's programs in business intelligence. Prospective students can use our rankings to identify the program that best aligns with their career goals. This article also explores common business intelligence courses, available careers for those with business intelligence master's degrees, and how to choose the right program for you.
|#1||Boston University Boston, MA|
|#3||Brandeis University Waltham, MA|
|#2||Syracuse University Syracuse, NY|
|#8||Indiana University - Bloomington Bloomington, IN|
|#5||Creighton University Omaha, NE|
|#7||Arizona State University ASU Online Tempe, AZ|
|#4||Saint Joseph's University Philadelphia, PA|
|#6||University of Colorado Denver Denver, CO|
|#9||Saint Mary's University of Minnesota Winona, MN|
|#10||Bellevue University Bellevue, NE|
Featured Online Schools
Best Online Master's in Business Intelligence Programs
BU offers a fully online MS in applied business analytics, with no on-campus requirements. The university understands each student has a unique learning style and customizes courses for individuals. Online students have access to faculty and student support administrators, who monitor group interaction and each student’s needs and performance.
BU’s online MS in business analytics provides business knowledge and analytical skills. Coursework covers topics such as enterprise risk management, data mining for business analytics, and qualitative decision-making. Graduates pursue positions analyzing data-driven business processes in roles such as management analyst, statistician, and operations research analyst.
Most students complete the 40-credit program in 18 to 24 months. BU accepts approved transfer credits, and students with a graduate certificate in applied business analytics may waive the program’s four specialization courses. Applicants must submit a graduate application, three letters of recommendation, a self-evaluation, a current resume, and official transcripts.
Brandeis offers an online MS in strategic analytics featuring small class sizes and instructors who are trained in online teaching. With an average class size of 12 students, online learners have the opportunity to form close relationships with instructors, who are active professionals in the field. Students participate in virtual meetings, and instructors are available for review sessions, office hours, and group activities in real time.
BU’s business analytics online master’s degree prepares students to translate analysis into effective decision-making for organizations. Core courses include business intelligence, analytics, and strategic decision-making. BU’s problem-based learning approach teaches students to collect and analyze data, and electives help students develop specific skill sets.
Students complete the 30-credit program in 10-week sessions, and most students earn the degree in about 18 months. However, students may take up to five years to complete the program. Applicants must submit official transcripts, a resume, a statement of goals, and a letter of recommendation.
Founded in New York in 1870, SU offers more than 200 majors and 100 minors. The university’s quarter of a million alumni are located in 160 countries. Along with Syracuse, SU has campuses in New York City, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles, and abroad. The university offers a number of fully online degrees, including an MS in business analytics.
SU students earning their business analytics master’s online develop an understanding of analytics through research, data visualization, and analysis. Students customize the degree through a variety of elective options. To facilitate effective communication between students and instructors, SU uses a backward design approach, which involves setting goals before determining the most effective instructional methods. The faculty comprises experts in the field who are trained in online teaching. Students participate in weekly interactive assignments.
Students complete two courses per 12-week term and graduate in as few as 18 months. Applicants must submit an application and an application fee, which is less if submitted by the priority deadline. Applicants must also submit two personal essays, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a resume, and GRE or GMAT scores. Candidates should be prepared to complete a personal interview with a member of the admissions committee.
Founded in 1820, IU offers an online MS in business analytics that emphasizes innovation and collaboration. The program is designed for students who hold an MBA or a bachelor’s degree in areas such as business, economics, or statistics. Graduates pursue careers as brand analytics managers, e-commerce project managers, and web metrics analysts.
Students complete the 30 required credit hours in as few as 15 months. Coursework prepares students to make accurate business decisions based on analytic modeling, to employ strategic thinking in management situations, and to uncover statistical information from datasets. Most classes last 16 weeks, but some classes are available in formats lasting 6, 8, or 12 weeks. Students have 24/7 access to online course materials.
IU Online offers a dual master’s degree combining an MBA and master’s in business analytics.
Applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, a 500-word personal statement, and a current resume. Applicants should expect to participate in a 30-minute phone interview with a member of the admissions team.
Creighton offers an online MS in business intelligence and analytics that is rooted in hands-on, real-world experience. Creighton’s small class sizes allow instructors to provide individual attention for each student. Graduates pursue careers as financial analysts, planners, and advisors.
Creighton’s online master’s in business intelligence requires core major coursework and classes designed to provide practical skills and knowledge, such as ethics classes. Online students have access to a digital library, an online writing center, technical assistance, and academic advising. Online students participate in real-time web conferences with professors and stream audio-visual materials. While most courses are asynchronous and require no scheduled log-in times, they are not self-paced; students meet due dates for weekly assignments.
Most full-time students complete the 33-credit program in two years. Applicants must submit a graduate admission application, an application fee, proof of undergraduate degree, two letters of recommendation, a 500-word personal statement, official transcripts, and GMAT scores.
ASU, a public metropolitan university, consistently ranks among the most innovative schools in the country. ASU’s offers hands-on, dynamic online programs, including an online MS in business analytics. Students learn how to extract value from data and lead analyses. Graduates pursue positions such as business intelligence analyst, marketing manager, and chief executive across markets and industries.
ASU’s online program follows the same curriculum as its on-campus program, and courses are taught by the same instructors. Students complete a single five-week course at a time and have access to a career services team that addresses the needs of working professionals. Coursework covers topics such as data mining and decision modeling, and students complete a three-credit culminating experience. Most students complete the 30-credit program in 16 months.
Applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and must submit official transcripts, GMAT or GRE test scores, a letter of recommendation, a current resume, and responses to short-answer questions.
SJU, a Jesuit university in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was one of the first schools to offer an online STEM degree; students in the MS in business intelligence and analytics program work with real data and case studies to cultivate skills applicable to positions in diverse industries. Core courses include business analytics and special topics in business intelligence. The program offers three concentrations: general track, data analysis, and programming languages. Graduates receive a business intelligence certificate endorsed by Statistical Analysis System, Inc.
SJU’s program consists of two split semesters, and students take a single eight-week course at a time. Most students complete the 30 required credits in two years. Every SJU professor is an expert in their field. Online students have access to a personal student services coordinator and 24/7 technical support.
Applicants must submit a graduate application, an application fee, two letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a letter of intent, and GRE or GMAT scores.
CU Denver/Anschutz employs diverse teaching methods and values discovery, innovation, and diversity. The university offers an online MS in information systems with a concentration in business intelligence. Students explore operational data and analytical tools and learn to process data, handle dashboards and scorecards, maintain customer relationships, and manage employee performance.
Online classrooms are structured in the same way as on-campus classrooms. Students participate in group activities and class discussions, and professors administer exams and weekly assignments. Students have access to MicroStrategy, Inc., a worldwide provider of business intelligence software. The curriculum covers topics such as IT governance, data warehousing, and business intelligence in healthcare. Students earning CU Denver’s online master’s in business intelligence can also complete a geographic information systems certificate, which teaches students to map representations that can be isolated in geo-databases.
Applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in any field and must submit official transcripts and GMAT scores. While not required, relevant work experience strengthens the application.
Saint Mary’s University is a Lasallian Catholic school established in 1912. The university serves 4,600 graduate students and has some of the largest graduate programs in Minnesota. Saint Mary’s University offers an online master’s of science in business intelligence and data analytics. Students earning the business analytics master’s degree online study topics such as analytics programming, statistical modeling, and data-driven decision-making. Most full-time students complete the 36 required credits in one year.
Saint Mary’s University provides user-friendly online learning environments, and coursework is delivered asynchronously so students can complete program requirements at their convenience. Students have 24/7 access to content-sharing tools and all course materials, including syllabi, articles, assignments, tests, quizzes, and discussion questions. Online students interact with classmates and faculty through virtual chats and emails.
Applicants must have a 2.75 GPA and must submit official transcripts, a current resume, two letters of recommendation, and a personal statement.
Founded in 1966, Bellevue is a nonprofit university located on a 46-acre main campus in Nebraska. The university serves nearly 9,000 students per year and has campuses in four states. Bellevue offers several entirely online programs, including an MS in business analytics.
Students earning the MS in business analytics online gain business knowledge and technical skills. Graduates become leaders who influence business decision-making and work in areas such as business administration, management information systems, and data mining. The program requires 36 credit hours and is ideal for individuals pursuing careers in business analytics and for current professionals who want to advance their careers.
Bellevue accepts transfer credits and provides an online tool to help prospective students determine how many of their previous credits Bellevue will approve. Applicants must have a 2.5 undergraduate GPA or a 3.0 graduate GPA and must submit official transcripts and a letter of recommendation. All online students pay the same tuition rate, regardless of residency.
Online Master's in Business Intelligence Programs Ranking Guidelines
We ranked these degree programs based on quality, curricula, school awards, rankings, and reputation.
What Is an Online Master's in Business Intelligence?
An online master's degree in business intelligence builds strong analytical and data science skills. During the program, graduate students learn how to collect and analyze data using different statistical techniques and make business decisions based on the results. Coursework may also cover topics like machine learning, data optimization, and big data analytics.
Depending on the program, graduate students can apply classroom training during internships and practicums. Many programs incorporate real-world projects and assignments to help build career-ready skills.
Earning a master's degree in business intelligence generally takes two years for full-time students, though some online business intelligence programs offer accelerated, one-year pathways to the degree.
What's the Difference Between a Master's Degree in Business Intelligence and an MBA in Business Intelligence?
A master's in business intelligence and a master of business administration (MBA) in business intelligence both offer focused training in business analytics, data science, and data-driven decision-making. However, an MBA incorporates more general business classes, including training in finance, marketing, and organizational behavior. A business intelligence master's degree provides more focused coursework specific to a career in analytics.
Professionals considering general business careers may prefer the flexibility of MBAs, while those with focused career goals in business analytics can benefit most from a master's in business intelligence.
Choosing an Online Master's in Business Intelligence Program
Prospective business intelligence students should consider several factors when choosing a graduate program, including cost, program length, and learning format. For example, some schools offer scholarships and tuition discounts for fully online students. Similarly, working professionals may prefer a part-time schedule with asynchronous classes, while other students prefer accelerated pathways or synchronous classes.
Applicants should also consider internship opportunities, electives, and specializations. Professionals with specific career goals benefit from choosing programs that offer concentrations in their preferred industries. Researching these factors ahead of time allows applicants to find the programs that best fit their goals and needs.
Accreditation for Master's in Business Intelligence or Business Analytics Degree Programs
Accredited schools and programs meet the highest standards for educating students and granting degrees. Prospective students should only consider regionally accredited universities when applying to graduate programs. Unaccredited schools may not qualify graduates for careers.
In addition to choosing an accredited university, business intelligence students should also research their program's accreditation. In business, three primary organizations grant programmatic accreditation: the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs, and the International Accreditation Council for Business Education.
What Can I Expect When Pursuing a Master's in Business Intelligence Online?
A master's in business intelligence strengthens analytical and research skills. By studying data science, decision-making, and business analytics, graduate students gain the knowledge and skills required for many in-demand careers. Some programs also offer specializations or electives in areas like big data analytics, marketing, or healthcare analytics.
Common Courses in Master's in Business Analytics and Intelligence Programs
- Data Mining and Visualization: Coursework examines data transformations, exploratory querying, statistical graphics, time series analysis, and exploratory spatial data analysis. By the end of this course, students should know how to use tools like Python and Jupyter Notebook, along with general design principles.
- Business Analytics: Business analytics explores how professionals can use data to make more informed decisions. Students use case studies to practice identifying and evaluating potential opportunities in organizations. Coursework also examines analytic methods and how to use optimization in the presence of multiple alternatives.
- Data-Driven Decision-Making: In this interdisciplinary course, students learn about the role of quantitative data in organizational, entrepreneurial, and managerial decision-making. Students apply quantitative tools from statistics, finance, and economics. This course emphasizes the interpretation and translation of data to initiate change in an organization.
- Data Science and Predictive Analytics: Enrollees develop computational, practical, and inferential thinking skills that can help them solve data challenges. Pertinent concepts include dynamic visualization, data management, statistical computing, and processing. By the end of this course, students have understand computational concepts in big science data, inferential thinking, and raw data.
- Quantitative and Qualitative Decision-Making: Students learn to use quantitative and qualitative decision-making techniques to improve issues organizations experience today. Essential topics include statistical data analysis, forecasting techniques, optimization models, and decision theory. Students must draw upon methods of problem-solving, data collection, data analysis, evaluation, prediction, and profitability distribution.
Business Intelligence Professional Organizations
Professional organizations can help business intelligence graduate students strengthen their networks and prepare for the workforce. Many organizations offer career planning resources, including job boards and career centers, to help early-career professionals. These organizations also provide educational and professional development support, including mentorship opportunities and professional certifications.
IIBA represents business analysts and offers interactive content, professional certifications, publications, and a salary survey report. Members can also use IIBA's career resources.
This peer-oriented community of data management and analytics professionals connects members with resources. The organization offers professional development tools both online and in person, along with a career center.
INFORMS is devoted to operations research and analytics, promoting best practices in the field. This association offers professional development resources, including continuing education opportunities, mentoring programs, and professional certifications in analytics.
ASIS&T aims to address the gap between information science practice and research. For over 80 years, ASIS&T has developed innovative theories, technologies, and techniques to improve information access. Members have access to continuing education coursework, scholarships, networking opportunities, and leadership training.
AITP is a leading resource and advocate for professionals in the technology field. Members have access to a global network, mentorship opportunities, career support, chapter events, and skill training. AITP also provides resume workshops and job assistance. Through AITP communities, members can also help underrepresented populations join the technology industry.
IASSIST promotes excellent data service delivery and advances social science infrastructure. IASSIST has members who work in government, the private sector, the nonprofit sector, and academia. Members have access to action groups, digital resources, quarterly reports, and annual conferences.
RDA was founded as a community initiative from several organizations, including the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This alliance aims to build a stronger technical and social infrastructure that allows for the reuse and sharing of data. Members have access to global discussion boards, a vast professional network, workshops, scientific meetings, and career development opportunities.
Business Intelligence Careers
A business intelligence master's degree prepares graduates for in-demand, high-paying careers. For example, a background in business analytics can lead to employment as a management consultant, financial analyst, or market research analyst. Others find work as data scientists or business analysts.
During a business intelligence program, graduate students can prepare for specialized careers by taking courses in information science, healthcare, marketing, or other industries that rely on analytics.
Administrative services managers oversee facilities and administrative activities, including recordkeeping and mail distribution. They manage administrative staff, determine departmental goals, and monitor records. Administrative services managers also make recommendations to improve office operations and ensure staff follow safety standards and regulations.
Records and information managers specifically oversee their organization's records. They may work in legal, nonprofit, or business organizations.
Most administrative services managers hold bachelor's degrees and have previous experience in administration. The position requires managerial experience and training in business operations or project management. Professionals can pursue certification from the International Facility Management Association, the Institute of Certified Records Managers, or ARMA International.
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Computer systems analysts evaluate organizations' computer systems to identify ways to increase efficiency. They blend IT and business training to determine technological solutions to problems and recommend new systems and procedures to management. They may also test and train users on computer systems.
A background in computer science or information science is ideal for computer systems analysts. Some roles require a master's degree with training in information systems. A master's degree can also prepare computer systems analysts for employment as computer and information systems managers.
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Management analysts, also known as management consultants, evaluate organizations and make recommendations to increase profits, improve efficiency, and reduce costs. Management analysts then recommend those solutions to management.
While most management analysts have several years of professional experience, a master's degree in business intelligence or business analytics can also help professionals become management analysts. Professionals can also pursue certification, such as the certified management consultant credential, to demonstrate their expertise.
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Financial analysts evaluate investments to recommend strategies to businesses and individuals. They analyze market performance for stocks and bonds, forecast financial trends, and study historical data to manage a portfolio of investments. Financial analysts can also determine organizations' value by appraising their financial statements.
Financial analysts who sell financial products typically need licenses from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. Financial analysts can also pursue professional certifications like the chartered financial analyst credential. Most financial analysts hold a bachelor's degree. A master's degree in business intelligence or business analytics prepares graduates for supervisory roles such as financial manager, fund manager, or portfolio manager.
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Market research analysts evaluate data to determine consumer demand for products and services. They then use that analysis to set pricing strategies, forecast sales trends, and identify potential customers. They report their findings to executives, who then set strategies and make decisions based on that information.
A bachelor's degree is the most common entry-level educational requirement. However, some market research analyst roles require a graduate degree in business, statistics, marketing, business intelligence, or business analytics.
A master's degree prepares professionals for leadership roles and more technical research positions. Market research analysts can also pursue voluntary certifications, such as the professional researcher certification from the Marketing Research Association.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Earning a business intelligence master's degree generally takes two years for full-time students. Some online programs offer an accelerated route to the degree, which can take as little as one year.
Depends on your career goals. A master's in business intelligence and an MBA both prepare graduates for supervisory roles. However, a business intelligence degree emphasizes analytical training, while the MBA focuses on general business skills.
A business intelligence degree trains students to analyze raw data and apply their findings to business decision-making. The degree prepares graduates for research, analytics, and consulting roles.
A master's in business analytics emphasizes a data-driven approach to business, preparing graduates for decision-making roles in many different industries. Students interested in managerial careers in business can benefit from an MBA.
Professionals with a business analytics master's degree can find work as management consultants, operations research analysts, and data scientists. They can also pursue management-level roles that require strong data analysis skills.
An MBA and a business analytics master's degree emphasize different coursework. The MBA provides advanced training in multiple areas of business, while a master's in business analytics offers more focused business intelligence and data analysis courses. Deciding which is best depends on your career goals.
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